Tourism has always been a major booster to a country’s economy, especially for a developing country such as India. With time, the expectations and requirements of travelers have changed. So have evolved the reasons to travel.
One may be travelling for professional, educational, medical or simply recreational purposes. Hotels and inns of various standards and categories have come up as a direct ancillary of tourism. And of recent times, another form of boarding and lodging has also come up: homestays.
The concept had been present in India since quite a number of years, albeit underutilized to its full potential. Major awareness about homestays was achieved during the hosting of Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October 2010. In spite of numerous ambitious plans, enough infrastructure to accommodate the visitors could not be achieved due to almost equal number of hurdles. It was then the Government came up with an innovative concept: The Bed and Breakfast Scheme. The local people could rent out their properties, or a part thereof, as accommodation facility for the guests. Guidelines were drawn up with this objective in mind.
Homestays indeed have a marginal edge over hotels. For one, in most cases, it is much cheaper. For the price of a formal, impersonal room of limited area in a hotel, you can get a comfortable apartment which has much more amenities and is customizable to some extent too. Moreover, the amenities are clean and hygienic.
If you are travelling in a group of more than one, and even if you are alone, homestays may be just like another home in an unknown place – you get to relax in a drawing room, enjoy meals with all, and yet have your own private space as and when required. Today, your options of apartments are many… you can choose a property as per your preferences, need and budget – in the city centre or on the outskirts; of various configurations such as single, double or multiple bedrooms.
Even your food preferences can be catered to. Unlike the rigid menu card of a restaurant, you can prepare your favourite dish yourself in the kitchen. If you desire to have a cook, you just have to explain to him what you want. For people on diet restrictions, the food is prepared with personal care.
Homestays showcase to you how the common man lives in the city. You also get a taste of the local cuisine, that too, in home-made food.
Some hosts would welcome you to the apartment themselves and treat you like their family. You can participate in the household activities such as gardening, enjoy a television programme with your hosts, play games and even go out with them. They would guide you to tourist spots, local markets, activity hubs and help you to plan your day outdoors, guiding you with the most cost effective and time saving routes. You may pick up a phrase or two in the local language, to help you to explore. A pocket map or a hand drawn sketch may prove handy!
It’s a myth that travelling with babies is difficult. Hotels may have limited facilities, and that too, against exorbitant charges. On the other hand, your hosts at the homestay would be more than happy to have your children to stay with them and make necessary arrangements, depending on their age. Additional supplies, such as milk, health supplements as well as gaming equipments can be handy. Some homestays have expansive gardens and lawns, for you to relax, while your children play around.
Just in case you wish to travel with your pet, you may face some resistance from the accommodation policies of most hotels. On the other hand, just an enquiry to your host at the homestay may fulfill your requirements.
The market of homestays is not limited to foreign travelers, but also domestic tourists. One prefers homestays to get a flavor of the local culture and traditions, to have a holiday that is tailor made to his needs, yet much lighter on his budget.
We, at The Other Home (TOH), bring to you the home-like experience away from home. We are an India-focused, Vacation Rental, Holiday Home, Homestay and Outdoor adventure properties consolidator. We offer a great selection of vacation villas, service apartments, farm houses, bed & breakfast, rural homestays and adventure/outdoor properties – camping grounds, yachts/boats and tree houses to create the dream holiday experience. Come, discover India as you have never done!